Tips for Better Self-Portraits: Photography How-To

Tips for better self portrait photos and selfies

Would You Love to Take Better Selfies and Self-Portraits?

You’re in the right studio!

I’m Ophelia, and I’ve been specializing in self portrait photography for the last five years!

The following tips contain an affiliate link for a studio staple.

Betty Page inspired self-portrait photography

Take Better Self-Portraits and Selfies

  • Start Simple.
    • Remember that we don’t need the most expensive or the newest equipment! I’ve done photoshoots with DSLRs and extra lenses, as well as with an iPod and and iPhone. We can get great results with a variety of tools, so let’s start with what we already have, if able.
  • Play with Available Lighting.
    • Natural light is often regarded as the most beautiful to work with, and it’s free! Shoot near a window or in the shade for beautiful, softened light.
    • If shooting in darker interiors, great results can also be achieved with standard floor lamps. If the lamplight is too harsh, try using an umbrella or thin cloth to diffuse the light. (Be safe whenever covering bulbs, even for a short period of time. Never leave unattended or allow anything to touch the lightbulb).
  • Add Fill Light
    • Adding fill light is a great way to take better control of your lighting, and keep shadows from getting too harsh or dark.
    • Use a white foam-core board or reflector to bounce light back onto yourself. Try switching between white, silver (aluminum foil is helpful in a pinch), and gold to see what looks best and complements the color scheme you’re using the most.
    • A second floor lamp or a Neewer ring light work great for adding fill light!
  • Play with Angles, Shapes, Poses and More
    • Experimenting is the key to success. Try different poses and shapes with your figure, play with angles, move your studio lights to different sides and heights, etc.
    • Keep your hands busy. Give yourself a prop to interact with, play with your hair, etc., to give more life to photos and create a feeling of movement.
    • Create an S shape. Shift your stance and poses to create beautiful S-curves. Be over-dramatic with poses and experiment with creating different shapes.
Self portrait photograph showing the S-curve that makes for beautiful poses
  • Keep Snapping Photos
    • Practice, practice, practice! Staying consistent and shooting self-portraits on a regular basis will help you develop your skill and give you more opportunities to experiment.
    • Shoot a variety of shots during each photoshoot. Try photographing close-ups, silhouettes, moody, bright, emotive, black and white shots, etc. You never know what new angle or technique you’ll fall in love with.
  • Use a Timer
    • Use the automatic timer on your phone or camera, or get a wireless shutter remote.
    • Use burst mode along with your timer (so the camera takes multiple photos) and change position as the shutter releases. You’ll get a variety of pictures with a flow to them.
  • Know what You Love About Self-Portraits
    • What’s your favorite part about modeling for your own photoshoots? This can help you determine what to focus on the most.
    • Are you passionate about makeup? Close-up, detailed, and colorful portraits may be your go-to.
    • Do you love sharing your fashion style? Try shooting editorial shots inspired by your favorite fashion magazines.
  • Review Your Photoshoot Results
    • What worked with the photoshoot?
    • What didn’t?
    • What do you want to try or do better next time?
What are Your Tips for Improving Your Photography?

Share your best advice in the comments!

Don’t forget to share this with fellow creatives, models and photographers~!

More Tips & Advice

Getting Started in Self-Portrait Photography

Portrait Photography Must-Haves

Cruelty-Free Makeup Tutorial | Pink Fantasy Portrait

This pretty pink makeup tutorial is now live on the BlessedShadows YouTube channel!

Featuring a cruelty-free makeup haul and lots of different cruelty-free and vegan products!

This stunning pink portrait photoshoot was a dream.

What’s your favorite pastel color?

Grab your favorite cruelty free brands and follow along with this tutorial!

Portrait Photography Must-Haves| Best Additions to the Photography Studio

In this list you’re going to find my favorite additions to the photography studio over the last ten years, big and small.

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Before I get started on my favorite photography equipment, I highly encourage you to start small! You get get started with some basic photography equipment listed here!

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Everyone’s favorite tools and equipment and accessories for their work are personal, here’s mine:

Photography Equipment

  • DSLR body: Start out with a basic body. I still love my kit camera from 10 years ago, it’s a Nikon D3100 with my upgrade being a D3300.
  • Glass: I’ve become a sucker for fast prime lenses in this small studio. My favorites are 85mm f/1.8 and my 50mm lens.
  • Ring light: Perfect for smaller studio spaces.
  • Continuous Lighting: I love lightweight floor lamps with daylight LED bulbs.
  • Flashguns and umbrellas: These have given me my most luscious lighting, but not my favorite option in a cramped studio.
  • Remote Trigger Release: This has been indispensable. I almost always use this one but I also have a few other versions depending on the shooting situation. It prevents a LOT of running back and forth.
  • Polarizing Filters: Remember to choose quality so you’re not degrading the quality of your images. Not only will these handy filters boost colors and reduce glare, they’ll help keep your lenses safe from scratches.
  • Rechargeable Batteries: Extra points if you use a solar panel to charge these.
  • PS and Lightroom: I bought PS CS5 for my computer back when Adobe wasn’t subscription based. I use the free Lightroom app on my IPod to edit my mobile shots.
  • Computer: Editing photography on a laptop isn’t ideal (depending who you ask) but it frees up a lot of space in the studio. If buying a computer, research ahead to see if it’s a good option for photography.
  • Monitor Color Calibrator: Calibrate your monitor and, in your editing program, use the best color space when editing and saving. Plenty of great tutorials for this online.
  • Backdrops: aka: Blankets, curtains, etc outfitted with safety pins to hang from nails on the wall. Check out your local thrift shop to see what colors, textures, patterns and prints you can find.
  • Mobile Camera: Gorgeous shots are absolutely possible on a smartphone and other devices. Many of my portraits have been taken with my iPod, and I now almost exclusively take photos with my camera phone. It’s a great way to experiment and get different shots before shooting the same look with a DSLR, or to do an entire shoot.
  • Mobile Camera Accessories: Tripods, selfie sticks, and clip on polarizing filters/lenses and other accessories are available for mobile devices.
  • Flash Drives: You’ve worked hard to create your work, be sure to save copies somewhere off your computer.

There you have it!

My favorite tools and equipment that I’ve adored the most over the past decade in the photography studio.

What are your own favorite tools and pieces of equipment?

Share with your friends and trade your own list of must-haves!